Equine influenza and Hendra virus

Hendra virus

Hendra virus is a rare but often fatal disease of horses that can be spread from horses to humans where it is often fatal. Hendra virus infection can be passed through the virus’s normal wildlife host, the flying fox (fruit bat).

To help manage the Hendra virus disease:

  • Consider vaccinating your horses. Vaccination is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus disease.

Avoid contact between horses and flying foxes by:

  • Preventing access to areas surrounding fruiting and flowering trees
  • Feeding and stabling horses overnight
  • Covering water sources overnight to prevent flying fox access.

Hendra virus causes vague symptoms early in infection such as restlessness, depression and fever. The virus can be spread by infected horses for up to three days before they show any clinical signs of infection.

If you are uncertain, but suspect your horse may be infected with Hendra virus, it is very important to:

  • Seek veterinary advice early. If your vet is unavailable, you can call a District Veterinarian with the Local Land Services or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888
  • Minimize contact with horses that are not vaccinated until the infected horse can be examined by a veterinarian
  • Avoid physical contact with the horse unless using full, correctly fitted PPE.

Hendra virus is a notifiable disease and the vet will notify Local Lands Services or NSW Department of Primary Industries if they suspect Hendra virus immediately. For more information, visit our Hendra virus webpage.

Equine influenza

Equine influenza is an acute, highly contagious, viral disease that can cause rapidly-spreading outbreaks of respiratory disease in susceptible populations of horses. Equine influenza is endemic in Europe (except Iceland) and in North and South America. In these countries most outbreaks are minor and sporadic due to the high level of vaccination.

NSW is free of Equine influenza, thanks to horse owners, industry and the public whose assistance during the 2007- 08 outbreak allowed NSW DPI to achieve a monumental victory over this disease.

Equine influenza  is a notifiable disease and the vet will notify Local Lands Services or NSW Department of Primary Industries immediately if they suspect this disease.

For more information, visit our Equine influenza webpage.